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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 06:59 AM
Original message
STOCK MARKET WATCH, Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Source: du

STOCK MARKET WATCH, Wednesday, November 16, 2011

AT THE CLOSING BELL ON November 15, 2011

Dow 12,096.16 +17.18 (+0.14%)
Nasdaq 2,686.20 +28.98 (+1.08%)
S&P 500 1,257.81 +6.03 (+0.48%)
10-Yr Bond... 2.03 -0.02 (-0.98%)
30-Year Bond 3.07 -0.01 (-0.42%)



Market Conditions During Trading Hours


Euro, Yen, Loonie, Silver and Gold






Handy Links - Market Data and News:
Economic Calendar    Marketwatch Data    Bloomberg Economic News    Yahoo! Finance    Google Finance    Bank Tracker    
Credit Union Tracker    Daily Job Cuts

Handy Links - Economic Blogs:

The Big Picture    Financial Sense    Calculated Risk    Naked Capitalism    Credit Writedowns
Brad DeLong      Bonddad    Atrios    goldmansachs666    The Stand-Up Economist

Handy Links - Government Issues:

LegitGov    Open Government    Earmark Database    USA spending.gov

Bush Administration Officials Convicted = 2
Names: David Safavian, James Fondren
Dishonorable Mention: former House majority leader, Tom DeLay

Bush Administration Officials Charged = 1
Name(s): Richard Lopez Razo

Financial Sector Officials Convicted since 1/20/09 =
12









This thread contains opinions and observations. Individuals may post their experiences, inferences and opinions on this thread. However, it should not be construed as advice. It is unethical (and probably illegal) for financial recommendations to be given here.

Read more: du
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 07:00 AM
Response to Original message
1. Today's plethora of reports
Nov 16 07:00 MBA Mortgage Index 11/12 NA NA 10.3%
Nov 16 08:30 CPI Oct 0.1% 0.0% 0.3%
Nov 16 08:30 Core CPI Oct 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Nov 16 09:00 Net Long-Term TIC Flows Sep NA NA $57.9B
Nov 16 09:15 Industrial Production Oct 0.2% 0.4% 0.2%
Nov 16 09:15 Capacity Utilization Oct 77.6% 77.7% 77.4%
Nov 16 10:00 NAHB Housing Market Index Nov 18 18 18
Nov 16 10:30 Crude Inventories 11/12 NA NA -1.370M

Read more: http://www.briefing.com/investor/calendars/economic/2011/11/14-18/#ixzz1drw1SqqW
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #1
21. U.S. consumer prices fall 0.1% in October (but up 3.5% over last 12 months)
Edited on Wed Nov-16-11 08:37 AM by Roland99
CPI minus food, energy rises 0.1% last month

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Po_d Mainiac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #21
60. That big meal next week will be 13% pricier than last year
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, a meal with turkey and all the trimmings will cost about 13% more this holiday compared to last year.

http://www.wbir.com/news/article/191152/173/Cost-of-traditional-Thanksgiving-meal-on-rise
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #60
76. But there's NO Inflation, At ALL!
Not even a smidge.
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #1
64. Industrial production expands 0.7% in October
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/industrial-production-expands-07-in-october-2011-11-16?link=MW_home_latest_news

The output of the nations factories, mines and utilities rose 0.7% in October, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in another sign the manufacturing industry is still expanding.

The October gain was the biggest since July and was stronger than the 0.4% increase expected by analysts.

However, industrial output in September was revised to a decline of 0.1% compared with the initial estimate of a 0.2% gain. See comprehensive MarketWatch economic calendar.


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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #1
67. Home-builder index hits best level in 17 months
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/home-builder-index-hits-best-level-in-17-months-2011-11-16?link=MW_home_latest_news

Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes rose in November to the highest level in 17 months albeit to a still-weak level as hope builds in the industry with mortgage rates around record lows.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index rose 3 points to 20 in November, which is the best reading since May 2010 and above the 19 seen in a MarketWatch-compiled economist poll. Octobers level was downwardly revised by a point to 17, but nonetheless the index has climbed 6 points over two months.

The seasonally adjusted index, which historically correlates strongly with single-family housing starts, is designed so that it would take a reading over 50 to be considered good, which hasnt been the case since April 2006.

While this second solid monthly gain on the builder confidence scale is encouraging, the overall measure remains quite low due to the many challenges that home building continues to face with regard to the high number of foreclosures, the difficulties of obtaining construction financing and accurate appraisals, and the restrictive lending environment that is discouraging potential buyers, said Bob Nielsen, NAHB chairman, in a statement.


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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 07:01 AM
Response to Original message
2. Oil falls below $99 after surprise US supply rise
SINGAPORE Oil prices fell below $99 a barrel Wednesday in Asia after a report showed U.S. crude supplies rose unexpectedly last week, suggesting demand may remain weak.

Benchmark crude for December delivery was down 70 cents at $98.67 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.23 to settle at $99.37 in New York on Tuesday.

Brent crude for January delivery dropped 67 cents to $111.51 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.

The American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday that crude inventories added 1.3 million barrels last week while analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos., had predicted a drop of 1.5 million barrels.

http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ap/oil_prices
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:06 AM
Response to Reply #2
10. Ya Think?
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bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #2
19. Everything is always a "surprise"
sheesh. I am so sick of the "surprise" factor - it is all so effing dishonest. K. (R'd earlier)
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Loge23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:48 AM
Response to Reply #2
31. The Daily Chuckle
Along with the daily cartoon, I find the daily Oil update to always be good for a morning chuckle!
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 07:01 AM
Response to Original message
3. U.S. Stock Futures Drop as BOE Fuels Concern About Europes Debt Crisis
U.S. stock-index futures fell as the Bank of England said failure by European officials to resolve the regions debt crisis could lead to significant adverse effects on the global economy.

Dell Inc. (DELL), the third-largest maker of personal computers, declined 1.4 percent after reporting sales that missed analysts estimates. Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) climbed 1.7 percent as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded the shares.

Futures contracts on the Standard & Poors 500 Index expiring next month lost 0.9 percent to 1,242.4 at 6:48 a.m. in New York, having earlier climbed as much as 0.4 percent. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures retreated 85 points, or 0.7 percent, to 11,953.

The euro-zone debt crisis continues to plague the market, said Kully Samra, who manages U.K.-based clients for Charles Schwab Corp., which has $1.5 trillion of client assets. Although U.S. economic data has been steadily improving in the second half of the year, with most of the temporary factors from the first half fading, growth forecasts remain muted.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-16/u-s-stock-index-futures-slide-as-european-sovereign-debt-concern-deepens.html
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 07:18 AM
Response to Original message
4. Hump day morning
:donut:
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 07:21 AM
Response to Original message
5. 4 Ways the Poor Get Screwed That Everyone Takes for Granted
http://www.alternet.org/economy/153043/4_ways_the_poor_get_screwed_that_everyone_takes_for_granted/

I'm not in the 1%. At the lower end of what I think of as the upper middle class, I nevertheless take daily advantage of a raft of systems intended to ensure that people who have less money than I do pay more than I do. Since my economic advantages result from public policy, it's fair to call them taxes, levied on people least able to afford them and applied upward for the benefit of people like me. Since the glory days of feudalism are long over, and we don't like to revel in high position, matters are arranged to keep me and people like me from noticing the systemic nature of our economic advantage.

Here, therefore, are four quotidian things we deal with half-consciously every day that move money upward and keep it there:

1. ATM's. Some readers have reason to think the lowest amount that can be withdrawn from an ATM is a twenty-dollar bill. Others have reason to know that in less privileged parts of town, ATM companies set the machines to dispense ten-dollar bills, with ads calling attention to the fact. The reason is fairly obvious: many people's balances and obligations don't permit them to withdraw $20 at one time, and ATM companies and storeowners don't want to miss out on collecting fees in such a large -- and these days, and in those neighborhoods, such a growing -- population.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 07:24 AM
Response to Original message
6.  Why Mitt Romney Had Such a Bad Record on Jobs in Massachusetts
http://www.thenation.com/blog/164599/why-mitt-romney-had-such-bad-record-jobs-massachusetts

Anyone who has watched the Republican candidates trading factoidsdebating one another would be far too generous a descriptionhas probably become familiar with Rick Perrys and Jon Huntsmans favorite: during Mitt Romneys term as Governor of Massachusetts, the state had the forty-seventh best rate of job growth. That statistic looks even worse when you consider that Romney left office a year after Hurricane Katrina, which gives Louisiana a good excuse for ranking below Massachusetts. Romneys feeble rejoinder is that the states unemployment rate was lower when he left office than when he entered.

So which statistic is more meaningful and what impact did Romneys decisions as governor have on job growth?

The answer to the first is easy: Massachusetts economy performed poorly during his tenure and his defense is misleading. Massachusetts unemployment generally follows that of the nation as a whole, but it went from slightly better than the national unemployment rate (5.6 percent in the state versus 5.8 percent in the country) when he took office to slightly worse when he left (4.7 percent in Massachusetts versus 4.4 percent nationally). And his record is even arguably worse than that: Massachusetts lost population for two years in a row during Romneys term. That means the unemployment number went down because the denominator shrank, but thats hardly a sign of a growing economy. Total jobs in Massachusetts were the same when he left office as when he started and many key industries actually lost jobs.

Of course, that may not be Romneys fault. The curve follows national average, says Fred Bayles, a veteran political observer at Boston University. Massachusetts took a little bit of a bigger hit when the dotcom bubble burst and took a little longer to recover.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 07:35 AM
Response to Original message
7. The Myth of the Innovator Hero
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/11/the-myth-of-the-innovator-hero/248291/

We like to think that invention comes as a flash of insight, the equivalent of that sudden Archimedean displacement of bath water that occasioned one of the most famous Greek interjections, εὕρηκα. Then the inventor gets to rapidly translating a stunning discovery into a new product. Its mass appeal soon transforms the world, proving once again the power of a single, simple idea.

But this story is a myth. The popular heroic narrative has almost nothing to do with the way modern invention (conceptual creation of a new product or process, sometimes accompanied by a prototypical design) and innovation (large-scale diffusion of commercially viable inventions) work. A closer examination reveals that many award-winning inventions are re-inventions.

Most scientific or engineering discoveries would never become successful products without contributions from other scientists or engineers. Every major invention is the child of far-flung parents who may never meet. These contributions may be just as important as the original insight, but they will not attract public adulation. They will not be celebrated by media, and they will not be rewarded with Nobel prizes. We insist on celebrating lone heroic path-finders but even the most admired, and the most successful inventors are part of a more remarkable supply chain innovators who are largely ignored for the simpler mythology of one man or one eureka moment.
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rfranklin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #7
40. The New Yorker has an article about Steve Jobs saying the same thing...
He did not innovate so much as refine ideas and products that were around long before he introduced his version.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 07:37 AM
Response to Original message
8. How Walmart Is Changing China
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/12/how-walmart-is-changing-china/8709/

Beside the Fifth Ring Road, one of the superhighways encircling Beijing like concentric shock waves radiating outward from the epicenter of an earthquake, sits an enormous big-box installation, one of thousands now proliferating throughout China. The parking lots flanking it are gridlocked with late-model cars and ruddy-faced peasants-turned-workers pushing long, snake-like trains of shopping carts toward the entrance.

Stepping into the buildings vast, windowless interior, I have the sense of entering an oversize Faberg egg. But instead of refined scenes of aristocratic czarist life, I encounter thousands of middle-class Chinese engaging in the newest, and already the most inalienable, right in this erstwhile Peoples Republic: shopping. This is the Shijingshan Shanmuhui, a Sams Club, one of the 352 stores that Walmart now operates in 130 Chinese cities.

Just inside the doorway, a scrum of salespeople hawk everything from roasted sweet potatoes to fitness-club memberships and massage chairs. Throngs of energetic customers push overflowing carts (fitted with data screens touting the latest bargains) making that familiar sound of wobbling rubber wheels on concrete. Indeed, its familiarity makes me feel Ive been astrally projected back to Walmarts natal placeBentonville, Arkansas, which the current president and CEO, Michael Duke, recently referred to as the Lighthouse of the Ozarks.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 07:54 AM
Response to Original message
9.  europe: Treasury pays pre-euro rates at debt auction {spain}
http://www.elpais.com/articulo/english/Treasury/pays/pre-euro/rates/at/debt/auction/elpepueng/20111115elpeng_12/Ten

At a debt auction Tuesday, the Spanish Treasury was forced to pay the highest yields on short-term paper since 1997, before the euro came into existence, as the debt crisis in the single-currency zone continued to rock the markets.

The government's debt-management arm sold 2.6 billion euros in 12-month bills at a marginal rate of 5.200 percent, well above the 3.688 percent it paid on October 18. It sold a further 557 million euros in 18-month paper at a cut-off rate of 5.320 percent, up from 3.856 percent at last month's auction. The tender was held as Spain's risk premium hit yet new euro-era highs.

"It's no big thing to pay yields of between five and six percent for a certain period of time; it would be dramatic if Spain was unable to place its debt, and that hasn't happened," Reuters quoted Nicols Lpez, the director of analysis at M&G Valores, as saying.

As of the end of September, the average yield that Spain was paying on its debt was 3.96 percent, the highest level since 2008, but a burden still considered to be manageable.

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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:07 AM
Response to Reply #9
11.  Portugal's economy shrinks for fourth straight quarter
http://www.elpais.com/articulo/english/Portugal/s/economy/shrinks/for/fourth/straight/quarter/elpepueng/20111114elpeng_13/Ten

Portugal's economy shrank for the fourth quarter in a row in the three months to September as the government's austerity drive continued to depress domestic demand, while growth in exports slowed.

According to flash estimates released Monday by the National Statistics Institute (INE), GDP contracted on a quarterly basis in the period July-September after falling by 0.1 percent in the previous three months. The contraction in output in year-on-year terms accelerated to 1.7 percent from 1.0 percent in the second quarter. The INE is due to provide a breakdown of the figures on December 9.

"The more intense reduction in annual terms of GDP in the third quarter was driven by a slowdown in exports of goods and services, which nonetheless continued to post high growth, and by a bigger decrease in investment," the INE said.

The INE said household spending also continued to contract strongly as rising unemployment, higher taxes and public-sector wage cuts eroded purchasing power.

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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. UK unemployment at 15-year high as outlook darkens
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_BRITAIN_ECONOMY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-11-16-07-27-39

LONDON (AP) -- The outlook for the British economy has worsened because of slowing global demand, sagging confidence and turmoil in the eurozone, the Bank of England said Wednesday as new data showed unemployment rising to the highest rate in 15 years.

Unemployment rose to 8.3 percent in the three months through September, the highest since January 1996, as companies prepare for grim times ahead. The Bank of England halved its forecast for economic growth in 2012 from 2 percent to 1 percent, and pared its projection for 2013 by half a point to 2.5 percent.

"Implementation of a credible and effective policy response in the euro area would help to reduce uncertainty and so support U.K. growth, but its absence poses the single biggest risk to the domestic recovery," the bank said in its quarterly Inflation Report.

The government likewise blamed the eurozone for rising unemployment.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. Job-hungry Spaniards seen electing center-right
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_SPAIN_ELECTIONS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-11-16-06-58-39

MADRID (AP) -- Another troubled European government will almost surely tumble this weekend as Spanish voters braving sky-high unemployment, the sting of austerity, piles of debt and a bleak future are expected to dump the ruling Socialists and hand their national mess to opposition conservatives.

Polls point to a crushing win on Sunday for the Popular Party led by Mariano Rajoy - a gangly, uncharismatic man who lost the last two general elections, only barely survived internecine fighting to hold on as party chief and generally has a low popularity rating.

He would inherit a crisis of massive dimensions as bailout fears leapfrog around the eurozone's fringe, Spain included.

A win for Rajoy, 56, would bring the conservatives back to power after nearly eight years of rule by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who on social policy put a patently liberal stamp on traditionally Catholic Spain by legalizing gay marriage and ushering in other northern European-style reforms.



*** good luck, espana -- you're gonna need it.
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:38 AM
Response to Reply #9
22. One card shy of a three-card Monti!!
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #22
32. oy...
:eyes: good luck, italy!
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #22
39. I THINK Psalm 146:3 APPLIES HERE


New Living Translation (2007)
Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.

English Standard Version (2001)
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

TO BE FOLLOWED BY THE PROVERB:

GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES---LIKE GOLDMAN SACHS!
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #9
27. European Central Bank steps in to counter bond rout
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/global-markets/european-central-bank-steps-in-to-counter-bond-rout/articleshow/10756565.cms

ROME/ATHENS: The European Central Bank stepped in to stem an accelerating sell-off of euro zone government bonds on Wednesday, traders said, after the United States called for more decisive action to halt a spreading sovereign debt crisis.

European shares and the bonds of weaker euro zone countries recovered initially on the move on the day Italian Prime Minister-designate Mario Monti was to name a national unity government to implement long delayed structural economic reforms.

"They're heavily in on Italy and Spain, 2-10 years," one trader said of the central bank intervention. Yields on Italian government bonds fell just below the 7 percent danger level, widely seen as unaffordable in the long term.

But ECB policymakers continue to reject growing international calls to intervene decisively as Europe's lender of last resort, stressing it is up to governments to resolve the debt crisis through austerity measures and reforms.
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #27
65. how long are they going to be able to keep that up? All their efforts so far have been in vain.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #9
37. French bank plans to cut 1,396 jobs
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/international-business/French-bank-plans-to-cut-1396-jobs/articleshow/10756818.cms

PARIS: Labor unions at BNP Paribas say the French bank is planning to cut its investment banking staff by nearly 1,400 next year, after the bank's exposure to Greek bonds caused its earnings to plummet.

A union representative who spoke on condition of anonymity said the bank unveiled plans for 1,396 job cuts at a meeting Wednesday. At the end of September, BNP Paribas' investment banking arm employed 21,400 people.

Bank officials were not immediately available to comment.

Earlier this month BNP Paribas said its net profit plummeted 72 percent in the third quarter after it accounted for expected losses on its Greek bonds in line with a new European agreement that hopes to reduce Greece's debt burden and halt the spread of the European debt crisis.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:18 AM
Response to Original message
12. asia: China pessimistic about trade outlook
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_CHINA_TRADE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-11-16-02-05-54

BEIJING (AP) -- China's government is pessimistic about its export outlook this year amid global economic turmoil, a Commerce Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

Demand for Chinese goods is under pressure from Europe's debt crisis and global economic uncertainty, while rising costs are hurting exporters' profits, said spokesman Shen Danyang at a news briefing.

Shen gave no forecast for monthly trade but noted that export growth has fallen steadily this year, hitting 15.9 percent in October. That was down from this year's peak of 36 percent in March.

"We cannot be optimistic about our country's export conditions in the near future," Shen said.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #12
38. China foreign direct investment shrinks in October
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/international-business/China-foreign-direct-investment-shrinks-in-October/articleshow/10750641.cms

BEIJING: Foreign direct investment in China shrank in October from the previous month, the commerce ministry said Wednesday, as Western trade partners struggled to resolve their economic woes.

Investment reached $8.33 billion in October, up 8.75 percent year on year, commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told reporters.

The figure was lower than the $9.05 billion invested in September.

For the first 10 months of the year, China took a total of $95.01 billion in foreign direct investment, up 15.86 percent from the same period last year and slower than the 16.6 percent growth rate in the January to September period.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:23 AM
Response to Original message
15. Morning, All
I survived last night's board meeting. Mostly by opening two enormous cans of worms. You're welcome, Board!


It's gonna be a cold gray gloomy day, followed by even colder and gloomier Thursday, after yesterday's March-like weather. It is hard to keep adjusting to the vagaries of the season. The sun was sitting on the horizon at 5 PM (we are perpetually on daylight savings time, or it would have been 4 pm) and the daylight is going to be 9 hours, 45 minutes long. Guess I'd better make the most of it!
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. For Humor: This Week's Onion Horrorscopes!
Aries

They say your problem is inoperable, but they're wrong: It's just incurable. Go ahead and do all the operating you want.

Taurus

You've never believed you were the poisoning type, but judging from all the news coverage you'll get next week, everyone else sure does.

Gemini

Don't be surprised when your body goes through some changes next week. After all, that's why you've been injecting yourself with synthetic horse testosterone.

Cancer

The stars will wait patiently while you look up the album art for Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever, because they want you to know exactly what you look like to them.

Leo

It's good to have a detailed plan in case events take an unexpected turn, but that doesn't mean you have to go around wiping your fingerprints off everything you own.

Virgo

Saturn is rising in your sign this week, bringing with it all the pain, misery, and failed business opportunities a ringed gas giant can muster.

Libra

You're a huge fan of those cheesy one-liners uttered by antiheroes right after they kill some poor slob, so good news: Your death will not be in vain.

Scorpio

You had no idea People magazine had a list of the 100 Most Average Bachelors, but it's still a disappointment when you don't quite make the cut.

Sagittarius

Take heart: You have your whole life ahead of you. Also, take some advice: It would be wise to think of the life ahead of you in terms of quality and not quantity.

Capricorn

While it's true life is nothing more than a tale told by an idiot, take heart. After all, you're an idiot.

Aquarius

Despite your upcoming experiences this week, the stars still think checking the backseat of your car before getting in every time is pretty paranoid.

Pisces

Congratulations: Before he got a load of you, the county coroner really thought he'd seen it all.

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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:46 AM
Response to Reply #18
28. This will cheer me while I'm busy expunging any reference to the...
Mayor of NYC Front Man for Wall Street from my exposure.

Let's get this straight... The 1%-ers are thus due to the consent of the masses. I think it's high time the masses remove their consent.

It should get awfully expensive to be in that club.
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #28
35. After you expunge that one
Can you offer some ideas on removing the similar pest from Nebraska?

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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:21 AM
Response to Reply #35
53. Well, you could avoid listening to...
Margaritaville. :rofl:

Sorry, couldn't resist. :D
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #53
62. Why don't we have a :whoosh: smiley?
As in, "Okay, that one went whoosh right over my head."




Tansy Gold, who far too often just doesn't get the funnies

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Oh, are they both from Nebraska? :whoosh:
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #62
63. ...
The man you refered to has a name very similar to the singer best known for his song... "Margaritaville", dear. :lol:

:hug:
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #63
66. Well, see,
I finally got THAT part of it, hence my
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follow-up,

but I didn't think they were related at all, or that Jimmy was from nebraska. And I understand he's financially successful, too.

Oh well, it's all too much for my silly little brain this morning. :evilgrin:


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Hotler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #63
88. Warren! is that you???
Edited on Wed Nov-16-11 02:51 PM by Hotler
If so please tell us some juicy gossip that's going around wonderful world of investing.
Edit to add.
Husker power! I am Batman.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #18
86. WALLY'S ADVICE FOR THE OWS CROWD
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #86
87. Squids, Morgans & Counterparty Risk: Blowing Up The World One Tentacle At A Time


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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:40 AM
Response to Reply #15
23. hi ya -- miss demeter!
:hi: i will remember dragons can be slain w/ cans of worms.
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #23
36. Personally....
I prefer opening a can of whoop ass. I buy them by the case at this point in my life.:smoke:
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #36
43. ...
:spray:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #36
46. That was my first choice
but I need one more vote on the board....don't think I'll get it this election, either.
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #46
73. Whoop Ass...
the choice of a new generation.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #23
44. Not Slain, Perhaps, But Stymied and/or Confused
Edited on Wed Nov-16-11 09:01 AM by Demeter
Diverted into useful service, as opposed to hungry destruction....
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #15
71. Sunset in Johnstown PA is 4:57 pm EST, Michigan use to be in Central time Zone
I can NOT remember when the switch occurred, sometimes in the 1970s if I remember right. I remember looking at a phone book in the late 1960s, early 1970s and it had a map of the time zones in it, with Michigan cut in half. Detroit in the Eastern Time Zone, the Western half of the state in the Central Time zone. I tired to find some confirmation of this but all I could find was the following cite that states Indiana and Kentucky made a switch in 1961 between the two time zones.

According to this site, Eastern Indiana and Central Kentucky were moved from the Central Time Zone to the Eastern Time Zone in 1961:
http://www.statoids.com/tus.html

The following has a short comment on Detroit and time zone:s
http://www.exactspent.com/time_zone.htm

The Comment is "A notable exception was Detroit, Michigan, which kept local time until 1900, then vacillated between Central Standard Time, local mean time, and Eastern Standard Time until it settled on EST by ordinance during May 1915, which was ratified by popular vote during August 1916."

They would be no problem if the Time zones were only one hour wide, but fro various reasons the Eastern Time Zone was made larger then One hour by the Railroads in 1883 and has expanded since that date. Thus you have areas of the Country in the Wrong Time Zone for the people in power want to be able to contact people in New York City and Washington DC and NOT have to worry about the time.

A good example of this is Michigan for its should be in the Central Time Zone (i.e. with Chicago) but to many people want to be able to call and get in contact with people in New York City and Washington DC, thus it stays with Eastern Time, instead of Central Time.

I think 5:00 pm sunset is to early, 4:00 would be WAY to early given both Michigan and Pennsylvania are seeing 10 hours of daylight in November. i.e daylight is from 7:00 am till 5:00 pm in Johnstown today, but in Michigan it would be 6:00 am till 4:00 pm., when the normal expected work day is 8:00 am till 5:00 pm. It makes leaving work to much like the old line about leaving the coal mines, you entered the mine when it was dark, left it when it was dark, and worked in the mine in the dark. Sorry, Michigan, Indiana and the Western Half of Tennessee and Kentucky should be in the Central Time Zone (and I can make the argument ALL of Tennessee and Kentucky and Ohio, should be in the Central Time Zone). 4:00 is to early for sunset at the Latitudes these states are located at (Alaska and Northern Canada is a different story, being so far north and even less hours of daylight).
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #71
77. Detroit at least has always been on Eastern Time
So the Fords could talk to their brokers in NY...
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amandabeech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #71
95. I grew up in Western Lower Michigan in the late '50s and '60s.
Edited on Wed Nov-16-11 06:30 PM by amandabeech
I don't remember making a switch from central to eastern, but I do remember that more of the western UP seemed to be on central time because the UP is geographically part of northern Wisconsin.

My earliest memory of time differences came in 1965, when I started listing to top 40 AM radio. The station that came in best was WOKY, waukie from Milwaukee. In the summer, my little tiny town was on the same time as Milwaukee, but in the winter, Milwaukee was one hour behind. Milwaukee, like some midwestern cities voluntarily kept WWII-era daylight savings time when most of the country did not. Daylight savings time allowed Milwaukee residents to really make the most of their beautiful summer season.

Now that daylight time is the rule, rather than the exception, all Michigan is on daylight time. Where I grew up, at the farthest edge of current eastern daylight time, the sky is light enough at 10 p.m. in late June for Lake Michigan sand dune buggies to go up on the dunes for the extended twilight. The sky does not darken to real black until at least 11 pm.

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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-17-11 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #95
99. Daylight Savings Time

I had read sometime ago that DST was a ploy by the big oil corporations to get people to drive more in the summer, spending more on gas, going and coming, to lots more places and events. It was sold to consumers that we were 'saving energy'. Well maybe I turned on my lights later at night, but heck the lights stayed on much longer in the mornings.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:26 AM
Response to Original message
16. Goldman CEO: Wall Street could rebound
I'D TAKE THIS AS A SERIOUS WHITE FLAG, FOLKS!

http://news.yahoo.com/goldman-ceo-wall-street-could-rebound-181917245.html

Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein said it is too early to say that Wall Street business is down because the industry has fundamentally changed. "I don't think we can conclude that the slowdown is secular, rather than cyclical," Blankfein said at an investment conference in New York. Trends of globalization and advancing technology are long term and will create demand for future financing, trading and investment management, he said. "What Goldman Sachs does for our clients is even more relevant and important," Blankfein said.

Goldman's business has suffered this year as its client trading profit has dropped and its investments have weakened. The bank's return on equity, a measure of profitability, for the first three quarters was 6 percent, excluding a one-time item, far lower than the 30 percent the company generated before the financial crisis. Future profits may be hampered by regulations, which has spurred many shareholders to dump the stock. Goldman shares are down more than 40 percent this year to trade around 82 percent of tangible book value, which is the difference between its reported tangible assets and liabilities.

Blankfein predicted that Goldman's clients will become vocal in warning regulators that proposed new rules could stop the firm from providing services they need, such as liquid markets and ready inventories of securities. "In our conversations with clients, they have expressed several concerns on the impact to their businesses," Blankfein said. Goldman will make client interests a theme of its arguments over the regulations, he said. Details of the so-called Volcker Rule to ban proprietary trading by big banks could restrict the firm's ability to provide clients with liquid markets and financial risk management, he said.

In response to a question, Blankfein reaffirmed his support for mark-to-market accounting, where companies record the value of their assets at their market value, and changes in values are reflected in earnings. A recent report that Goldman was backing away from mark-to-market accounting was not accurate, he added.

Goldman shares fell $1.10, or about 1 percent, to $98.24 in New York Stock Exchange trading after Blankfein spoke Tuesday morning.
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #16
42. Coulda...
shoulda, woulda....ie be prepared for more surprised experts.
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Loge23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:40 AM
Response to Reply #42
55. ..after their bets are in, of course! (eom)
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:27 AM
Response to Original message
17. Panel OKs Bill To End Fannie, Freddie Bonuses
http://www.npr.org/2011/11/15/142360979/panel-oks-bill-to-end-fannie-freddie-bonuses?ft=1&f=1001

Congress is seeking to end the practice of paying million-dollar bonuses to executives at government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The House Financial Services Committee approved legislation Tuesday that would suspend $12.8 million in Fannie and Freddie executive compensation packages and stop future bonuses. The vote was 52-4, with strong support from both parties.

The Senate is expected to take up a similar measure in the near future.

The government rescued Washington-based Fannie and McLean, Va.-based Freddie three years ago after they nearly folded because of big losses on risky mortgages they purchased. Taxpayers have spent about $170 billion to rescue the two firms, the most expensive bailout of the 2008 financial crisis. The government estimates the bailout could reach up to $220 billion through 2014.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. Gingrich Said to Be Paid at Least $1.6 Million by Freddie Mac
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-16/gingrich-said-to-be-paid-at-least-1-6-million-by-freddie-mac.html

Newt Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the arrangement. The total amount is significantly larger than the $300,000 payment from Freddie Mac that Gingrich was asked about during a Republican presidential debate on Nov. 9 sponsored by CNBC, and more than was disclosed in the middle of congressional investigations into the housing industry collapse. Gingrichs business relationship with Freddie Mac spanned a period of eight years...Gingrichs first contract with the mortgage lender was in 1999, five months after he resigned from Congress and as House speaker, according to a Freddie Mac press release. His primary contact inside the organization was Mitchell Delk, Freddie Macs chief lobbyist, and he was paid a self- renewing, monthly retainer of $25,000 to $30,000 between May 1999 until 2002, according to three people familiar with aspects of the business agreement. During that period, Gingrich consulted with Freddie Mac executives on a program to expand home ownership, an idea Delk said he pitched to President George W. Bush??s White House...I spent about three hours with him talking about the substance of the issues and the politics of the issues, and he really got it, said Delk, adding that the two discussed what the benefits are to communities, what the benefits could be for Republicans and particularly their relationship with Hispanics. One idea that the former Georgia congressman proposed that Freddie Mac didnt pursue was initiating a program with the Boy Scouts of America to teach youngsters the importance of saving money and maintaining good credit so they would qualify to buy a home later in life...In 2001, according to one person familiar with the work Gingrich performed, company officials asked him for feedback on their plan to publicly embrace six voluntary commitments. The six items included a pledge to periodically issue subordinated debt, manage liquidity, undergo capital stress tests and expand various types of risk disclosures. Gingrich applauded the ideas, saying they would enable Freddie Mac to demonstrate benefits to the taxpayer, the person said...What he did was provide counsel on public policy issues, Delk said in an interview. There was no expectation that he would do any lobbying, and he did not do any lobbying.

.........................

Gingrichs second contract with Freddie Mac was a two-year retainer for which he was paid a total of $600,000, said two people familiar with the agreement. What he did for the money is a subject of disagreement. Gingrich said during the CNBC debate that he advised the troubled firm as a historian. Gingrich said he warned that the companys business model was a bubble and its lending practices were insane. None of the former Freddie Mac officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said Gingrich raised the issue of the housing bubble or was critical of Freddie Macs business model. We dispute your sources account, said R.C. Hammond, a Gingrich campaign spokesman. Hammond confirmed that Gingrich had multiple contracts with the mortgage company. Newt did have a series of contracts with Freddie Mac over a period of many years, during which he was paid to give strategic advice, Hammond said in a telephone interview.

Former Freddie Mac officials familiar with his work in 2006 say Gingrich was asked to build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the companys public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it. He was expected to provide written material that could be circulated among free-market conservatives in Congress and in outside organizations, said two former company executives familiar with Gingrichs role at the firm. He didnt produce a white paper or any other document the firm could use on its behalf, they said...Since his retainer with Freddie Mac ended in 2008, Gingrich has become a critic of the government-sponsored enterprises, which were pushed into insolvency by subprime mortgages. The two companies, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, are so thoroughly politicized and preside over such irresponsible lending policies that they need to be replaced with smaller, private companies operating without government guarantees, whose leaders focus on making a profit, not manipulating politicians, Gingrich wrote in his 2011 book, To Save America.

I ALWAYS LOVE IT WHEN ONE WOULD-BE EVIL OVERLORD (BLOOMBERG) OUTS ANOTHER
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:42 AM
Response to Reply #20
26. Oh, Newt was an historian alright. A *revisionist* one!
what a pud.

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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:41 AM
Response to Original message
24. Have PhD, will govern
http://www.economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2011/11/technocrats-and-democracy

THE markets first welcomed, then worried about the appointment of academic economists as prime ministers of Greece and Italy. Much political commentary traced the same trajectory. But the technocratic response to the euros problems is only part of a wider reaction to the financial and economic crisis: in many countries, the crisis has paralysed significant parts of the political system, leading to innovations and improvisations that try to short-circuit or patch up the normal working of democracy.

Perhaps the best example of this is the so-called super committee in the United States. Normally, all fiscal decisions are made by Congress, with the approval of the president. But by November 23rd, a special committee made up of three Democrats and three Republicans from each house of Congress, has to slice a mammoth $1.5 trillion off the budget deficit over ten years. Congress must then vote on whatever the super committee proposesbut may only accept or reject the plan as a whole. It may not amend the plan or vote on individual items, as is usual. And if Congress rejects the package, or the super-committee fails to come up with one, then the $1.5trillion of cuts will be imposed automatically. American politicians, despairing of their inability to reduce the deficit in normal ways, have put a gun to their own heads. There have been partial precedents in American history but nothing quite like this.

In Europe, meanwhile, technocratic prime ministers are only the highest-ranking experts being recruited to help balance budgets and reform economies. Italy not only has an economics professor as prime minister (Mario Monti), it has also agreed that the IMF should scrutinise its reform programme. Greece has accepted that a troika of the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission (the European Unions glorified civil service) should supervise its austerity measures. So have Ireland and Portugal. Spain is an especially revealing case. On the face of it, its democracy is working as usual. The country is due to hold an election on November 20th and, if the polls are correct, the conservative Popular Party will unseat the ruling Socialists. Yet at the same time, the current government has agreed upon a series of economic targets with the European Commission, and in practice the PPs leader, Mariano Rajoy, will have to take these targets as a guide to policy, even if he dislikes them (which, admittedly, he doesnt).

Ordinarily, democracies seek public support for the policies they pursue and have various ways of mobilising that support, of which elections are the most important. But there are special reasons why the ordinary processes of mobilising the public should be strained at the moment. In euro-zone countries, the currency itself is unpopular. According to a recent poll by the German Marshall Fund, a think tank, 53% of people in countries that use the euro think the single currency has been bad for their national economy, against only 40% who think it has been a net plus. It is hard to rally the public behind austerity programmes at the best of times; even harder to solicit their support for measures to bolster a currency they do not like. Unsurprisingly, politicians have sent for outsiders to stiffen their resolveand now have someone else to blame for the austerity measures they are imposing.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:42 AM
Response to Original message
25. Lessons From Iceland: The People Can Have The Power By Birgitta Jnsdttir
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/15/lessons-from-iceland-people-power

As early progress in Iceland shows since the banking collapse, the 21st century will be the century of the common people, of us...The Dutch minister of internal affairs said at a speech during free press day this year: "Law-making is like a sausage, no one really wants to know what is put in it." He was referring to how expensive the Freedom of Information Act is, and was suggesting that journalists shouldn't really be asking for so much governmental information. His words exposed one of the core problems in our democracies: too many people don't care what goes into the sausage, not even the so-called law-makers, the parliamentarians...If the 99% want to reclaim our power, our societies, we have to start somewhere. An important first step is to sever the ties between the corporations and the state by making the process of lawmaking more transparent and accessible for everyone who cares to know or contribute. We have to know what is in that law sausage; the monopoly of the corporate lobbyist has to end especially when it comes to laws regulating banking and the internet...The Icelandic nation only consists 311,000 souls, so we have a relatively small bureaucratic body and can move quicker then in most countries. Many have seen Iceland as the ideal country for experimentation for new solutions in an era of transformation. I agree.

We had the first revolution after the financial troubles in 2008. Due to a lack of transparency, corruption and nepotism, Iceland had the third largest financial meltdown in human history, and it shook us profoundly. The Icelandic people realised that everything we had put our trust in had failed us. One of the demands during the protests that followed and that resulted in getting rid of the government, the central bank manager and the head of the financial authority was that we would get to rewrite our constitution. "We" meaning the 99%, not the politicians who had failed us. Another demand was that we should have real democratic tools, such as being able to call directly for a national referendum and dissolve parliament...As an activist, web developer and poet, I never dreamt of being a politician and nor have I ever wanted to be a part of a political party. That was bound to change during these exceptional times. I helped create a political movement from the various grassroots movements in the wake of the crisis. We were officially created eight weeks prior to the election, and based our structure on horizontalism and consensus. We had no leaders, but rotating spokespeople; we did not define ourselves as left or right but around an agenda based on democratic reform, transparency and bailing out the people, not the banks. We vowed that no one should remain in parliament longer then eight years and our movement would dissolve if our goals had not been achieved within eight years. We had no money, no experts; we were just ordinary people who'd had enough and who needed to have power both within the system and outside it. We got 7% of the vote and four of us entered the belly of the beast.

Many great things have occurred in Iceland since our days of shock in 2008. Our constitution has been rewritten by the people for the people. A constitution is such an important measure of what sort of society people want to live in. It is the social agreement. Once it is passed, our new constitution will bring more power to the people and give us proper tools to restrain those in power. The foundation for the constitution was created by 1,000 people randomly selected from the national registry. We elected 25 people to put that vision into words. The new constitution is now in the parliament. It will be up to the 99% to call for a national vote on it so that we inside the parliament know exactly what the nation wants and will have to follow suit. If the constitution passes, we will have almost achieved everything we set out to do. Our agenda was written on various open platforms; direct democracy is the high north of our political compass in everything we do...Having the tools for direct democracy is not enough though. We have to find ways to inspire the public to participate in co-creating the reality they want to live in. This can only be done by making direct democracy more local. Then people will feel the direct impact of their input. We don't need bigger systems, we need to downsize them so they can truly serve us and so we can truly shape them...The capital city of Reykjavk has launched a direct democracy platform, where everyone can put in a suggestion in a community forum about things they want to be done in the city. The city council has to take the top five suggestions and process them every month. Next step is to have a similar system for the parliament, and the logical step after that is to have the same system for the ministries.

From conversations I have had with people from Occupy London it is obvious we are all thinking along the same lines. All systems are down: banking, education, health, social, political the most logical thing would be to start a fresh system based on values other than consumerism, which maximises profit and self-destruction. We are strong, the power is ours: we are many, they are few. We are living in times of crisis. Let's embrace this time for it is the only time real changes are possible by the masses.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #25
34. Big Change Whether We Like It or Not Only Washington Is Clueless By Andrew Bacevich
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29710.htm

...the present moment is arguably one in which the international order is, in fact, undergoing a fundamental transformation. The postwar world brought into existence as a consequence of World War II is coming to an end. A major redistribution of global power is underway. Arrangements that once conferred immense prerogatives upon the United States, hugely benefiting the American people, are coming undone. In Washington, meanwhile, a hidebound governing class pretends that none of this is happening, stubbornly insisting that its still 1945 with the so-called American Century destined to continue for several centuries more (reflecting, of course, Gods express intentions). Here lies the most disturbing aspect of contemporary American politics, worse even than rampant dysfunction borne of petty partisanship or corruption expressed in the buying and selling of influence. Confronted with evidence of a radically changing environment, those holding (or aspiring to) positions of influence simply turn a blind eye, refusing even to begin to adjust to a new reality....The Big Change happening before our very eyes is political, economic, and military. At least four converging vectors are involved. First, the Collapse of the Freedom Agenda: In the wake of 9/11, the administration of George W. Bush set out to remake the Greater Middle East. This was the ultimate strategic objective of Bushs global war on terror. Intent on accomplishing across the Islamic world what he believed the United States had accomplished in Europe and the Pacific between 1941 and 1945, Bush sought to erect a new order conducive to U.S. interests -- one that would permit unhindered access to oil and other resources, dry up the sources of violent Islamic radicalism, and (not incidentally) allow Israel a free hand in the region. Key to the success of this effort would be the U.S. military, which President Bush (and many ordinary Americans) believed to be unstoppable and invincible -- able to beat anyone anywhere under any conditions. Alas, once implemented, the Freedom Agenda almost immediately foundered in Iraq. The Bush administration had expected Operation Iraqi Freedom to be a short, tidy war with a decisively triumphant outcome. In the event, it turned out to be a long, dirty (and very costly) war yielding, at best, exceedingly ambiguous results. Well before he left office in January 2009, President Bush himself had abandoned his Freedom Agenda, albeit without acknowledging its collapse and therefore without instructing Americans on the implications of that failure. One specific implication stands out: we now know that U.S. military power, however imposing, falls well short of enabling the United States to impose its will on the Greater Middle East. We can neither liberate nor dominate nor tame the Islamic world, a verdict from the Bush era that Barack Obamas continuing misadventures in AfPak have only served to affirm. Trying harder wont produce a different result. Outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates caught the new reality best: Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined, as General MacArthur so delicately put it. To be sure, Freedom Agenda dead-enders -- frequently found under K in your phone book -- continue to argue otherwise. Even now, for example, Kagans, Keanes, Krauthammers, and Kristols are insisting that we won the Iraq War -- or at least had done so until President Obama fecklessly flung away a victory so gloriously gained. Essential to their argument is that no one notice how they have progressively lowered the bar defining victory...



Second, the Great Recession: In the history of the American political economy, the bursting of speculative bubbles forms a recurring theme. Wall Street shenanigans that leave the plain folk footing the bill are an oft-told tale. Recessions of one size or another occur at least once a decade. Yet the economic downturn that began in 2008 stands apart, distinguished by its severity, duration, and resistance to even the most vigorous (or extravagant) remedial action. In this sense, rather than resembling any of the garden-variety economic slumps or panics of the past half-century, the Great Recession of our own day recalls the Great Depression of the 1930s. Instead of being a transitory phenomenon, it seemingly signifies something transformational. The Great Recession may well have inaugurated a new era -- its length indeterminate but likely to stretch for many years -- of low growth, high unemployment, and shrinking opportunity. As incomes stagnate and more and more youngsters complete their education only to find no jobs waiting, members of the middle class are beginning to realize that the myth of America as a classless society is just that. In truth, the game is rigged to benefit the few at the expense of the many -- and in recent years, the fixing has become ever more shamelessly blatant. This realization is rattling American politics. In just a handful of years, confidence in the Washington establishment has declined precipitously. Congress has become a laughingstock. The high hopes raised by President Obamas election have long since dissipated, leaving disappointment and cynicism in their wake. One result, on both the far right and the far left, has been to stoke the long-banked fires of American radicalism. The energy in American politics today lies with the Tea Party Movement and Occupy Wall Street, both expressing a deep-seated antipathy toward the old way of doing things. Populism is making one of its periodic appearances on the American scene. Where this will lead remains, at present, unclear. But ours has long been a political system based on expectations of ever-increasing material abundance, promising more for everyone. Whether that system can successfully deal with the challenges of managing scarcity and distributing sacrifice ranks as an open question. This is especially true when those among us who have been making out like bandits profess so little willingness to share in any sacrifices that may be required.

Third, the Arab Spring: As with the floundering American economy, so with Middle Eastern politics: predicting the future is a proposition fraught with risk. Yet without pretending to forecast outcomes -- Will Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya embrace democracy? Can Islamic movements coexist with secularized modernity? -- this much can be safely said: the ongoing Arab upheaval is sweeping from that region of the world the last vestiges of Western imperialism. Europeans created the modern Middle East with a single purpose in mind: to serve European interests. With the waning of European power in the wake of World War II, the United States -- gingerly at first, but by the 1980s without noticeable inhibition -- stepped in to fill the void. What had previously been largely a British sphere now became largely an American one, with the ever-accelerating tempo of U.S. military activism testifying to that fact. Although Washington abjured the overt colonialism once practiced in London, its policies did not differ materially from those that Europeans had pursued. The idea was to keep a lid on, exclude mischief-makers, and at the same time extract from the Middle East whatever it had on offer. The preferred American MO was to align with authoritarian regimes, offering arms, security guarantees, and other blandishments in return for promises of behavior consistent with Washingtons preferences. Concern for the wellbeing of peoples living in the region (Israelis excepted) never figured as more than an afterthought. What events of the past year have made evident is this: that lid is now off and there is little the United States (or anyone else) can do to reinstall it. A great exercise in Arab self-determination has begun. Arabs (and, arguably, non-Arabs in the broader Muslim world as well) will decide their own future in their own way. What they decide may be wise or foolish. Regardless, the United States and other Western nations will have little alternative but to accept the outcome and deal with the consequences, whatever they happen to be...


Fourth, Beleaguered Europes Quest for a Lifeline: To a considerable extent, the story of the twentieth-century -- at least the commonly-told Western version of that story -- is one of Europe screwing up and America coming to the rescue. The really big screw-ups were, of course, the two world wars. In 1917 and again after December 1941, the United States sent large armies to deal with those who had disturbed the peace. After the first war, the Americans left. After the second, they stayed, not only providing soldiers to safeguard Western Europe, but also rejuvenating the shattered economies of the European democracies. Even with the passing of a half-century, the Marshall Plan stands out as a singular example of enlightened statecraft -- and also as a testimonial to Americas unsurpassed economic capacity following World War II. Saving continents in dire distress was a job that only the United States could accomplish. That was then. Today, Europe has once again screwed up, although fortunately this time there is no need for foreign armies to sort out the mess. The crisis of the moment is an economic one, due entirely to European recklessness and irresponsibility (not qualitatively different from the behavior underlying the American economic crisis). Will Uncle Sam once again ride to the rescue? Not a chance. Beset with the problems that come with old age, Uncle Sam cant even mount up. To whom, then, can Europe turn for assistance? ...The crucial issue here isnt whether Beijing will actually pull Europes bacon out of the fire. Rather its the shifting expectations underlying the moment. After all, hasnt the role of European savior already been assigned? Isnt it supposed to be Washingtons in perpetuity? Apparently not..........Is America Over? That question adorns the cover of the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, premier organ of the foreign policy establishment. As is typically the case with that establishment, Foreign Affairs is posing the wrong question, one designed chiefly to elicit a misleading, if broadly reassuring answer. Proclaim it from the rooftops: No, America is not over. Yet a growing accumulation of evidence suggests that America today is not the America of 1945. Nor does the international order of the present moment bear more than a passing resemblance to that which existed in the heyday of American power. Everyone else on the planet understands this. Perhaps its finally time for Americans -- starting with American politicians -- to do so as well. Should they refuse, a painful comeuppance awaits.

*********************************************************************

Andrew J. Bacevich is professor of history and international relations at Boston University. A TomDispatch regular, he is the author, among other works, of Washington Rules: Americas Path to Permanent War and the editor of The Short American Century: A Postmortem, forthcoming from Harvard University Press. To listen to Timothy MacBains latest Tomcast audio interview in which Bacevich discusses how his students have come to accept perpetual American war as normalcy click here, or download it to your iPod here.
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #34
49. Real change or reform...
has never come from DC with what there wasn't pressure applied from with out DC.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #49
51. See Keith Olberman's latest special comment--It's a Keeper!
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #51
57. +++

11/15/11 Keiths Special Comment: Why Occupy Wall Street needs Michael Bloomberg
In a Special Comment, Keith contextualizes Mayor Bloombergs actions against Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park and how they have unintentionally vaulted the movement from a local nuisance to a global platform for the disenfranchised.
http://current.com/shows/countdown/videos/keiths-special-comment-why-occupy-wall-street-needs-michael-bloomberg
or
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAahSr0afxM

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Hotler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #51
68. "another god damn Batman movie!"
I am Batman. I have no hope. I see no future. I'm going back down to the Bat cave. Take care SMW.
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #68
74. Our modified theme for today....
I'm a prepper, she's a prepper, he's a prepper, they're all preppers. Wouldn't you like to be a prepper too. (sung to old Dr. Pepper jingle)
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #25
47. Saw her on the Kieser Report...
She defiantly has a Viking lineage, she just uses reason to gut and clean the fraudsters.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #25
72. A side reference to Otto von Bismark's comment about Sausages and laws.
Bismark comment, paraphrased from memory:

"People with weak stomachs should NOT see Sausages or Laws being made".
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:46 AM
Response to Original message
29. south asia: Gold touches new high of Rs 29,440 on seasonal demand
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/commodities/gold-touches-new-high-of-rs-29440-on-seasonal-demand/articleshow/10755091.cms

NEW DELHI: Riding high on seasonal demand, gold prices today moved up by Rs 175 to a new peak level of Rs 29,440 per 10 grams in the bullion market here.

Gold had touched a high of Rs 29,295 on November 14. Silver also recovered by Rs 400 to Rs 57,900 per kg on buying by stockists and industrial units for the ongoing marriage season.

Traders said, besides seasonal demand, a firming trend in the overseas market, where gold and silver rose as investors bought the precious metals for protection against signs of widening European debt crisis.

In New York, gold traded higher by 0.04 per cent to USD 1,781.10 an ounce, while silver advanced by 0.96 per cent to USD 34.57 an ounce.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:48 AM
Response to Reply #29
30. Sensex ends 107 pts lower; JP Asso, BHEL, L&T down
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/stocks/market-news/sensex-ends-107-pts-lower-jp-asso-bhel-lt-down/articleshow/10755535.cms

MUMBAI: The Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensex ended a volatile session in the negative territory even as European peers were witnessing a bounce back rally. Losses in capital goods, power and oil&gas space were offset by gains in FMCG, metals and realty space.

The market, after a weak opening, drifted lower due to lack of buying support from investors. Bulls tried to stage a come-back after the National Stock Exchange's benchmark Nifty breached important support level. However, they failed to gain momentum and the indices closed lower towards the end of session.

According to analysts, the market seems to have factored in most of the bad news flow and investors should use this correction as buying opportunity from long term perspective.

"We have seen bad set of earnings in the last two weeks. We have seen high interest cost pressure. We have seen high debts among the companies. We have seen a low industrial growth production data. We have also seen almost high inflation trajectory so my sense is that lot of bad news are now factored in and it is a right time that one starts accumulating good quality stocks on every fall," said Devang Mehta, VP & Head Equities Sales, Anand Rathi Securities.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #29
33. Petrol price cut by oil companys' will not help inflation: Experts
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/petrol-price-cut-by-oil-companys-will-not-help-inflation-experts/articleshow/10755297.cms

KOLKATA: The cut in petrol prices by state-run oil companies will have negligible or marginal impact on the country's economy and will not help the near double-digit inflation to cool down, industry experts observe.

India's fuel retailers cut petrol prices by Rs.1.85 per litre Tuesday.

The move came after some United Progressive Alliance (UPA) allies, including Trinamool Congress, and opposition parties alike criticised the petrol price hike of Rs.1.80 per litre earlier this month.

However, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the largest of the three state-run oil marketing companies, stated that a fall in global crude prices and the rupee remaining stable at 49.30 to a US dollar were the reasons for the cut in petrol prices in domestic market.
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:56 AM
Response to Original message
41. Irish Banker Whistleblower
Edited on Wed Nov-16-11 09:03 AM by DemReadingDU
A gentleman who has occasionally popped up on the Denninger's forum unmasked himself the other day and was interviewed in the "mainstream media" -- ABC News' European desk by Emma Alberici.

read more
http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=197608


edit to add a few paragraphs from the transcript...

ALBERICI: How certain are you that UniCredit broke the law while you were there?

JONATHAN SUGARMAN: A hundred per cent certain and to use the Irish expression, to be sure, to be sure that is why I brought in this London based IT company which had a very good reputation in Dublin and the result was pretty horrific because whereas the breach that Id reported to the regulator was a breach of twenty per cent, whereas the permissible deviation was one per cent, they rang me up one evening soon after they tied into our systems, linked into our systems and said your breach is actually forty per cent.

ALBERICI: When he raised the alarm with his chief executive, the response was dismissive. It was a systems error. The risk manager was instructed to continue approving the deals. Jonathan Sugarman was in the thick of a reckless banking culture that was on a collision course with disaster.

link to transcript, which includes the link to the video, appx 26 minutes
http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2011/s3367080.htm


Irish WhistleBlower's website
http://whistleblowerirl.blogspot.com/

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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #41
70. ZeroHedge - Whistleblower discusses how rules are broken

11/16/11 In an interview on Australian TV, a former Unicredit senior banker, Jonathan Sugarman, discusses (along with no less than everyone's favorite roulette player - Nick Leeson) how rules are broken (not bent) and the 'rotten culture encourages excessive risk taking'.

The former head of risk management resigned after being forced to break the law - specifically by dramatically under-reserving (or over-leveraging). These figures were not reported which means that, in Mr. Sugarman's words, he was "100 per cent certain that Unicredit broke the law while he was working there".

The rot goes deeper though, as the interview describes, when he turned himself over to the regulators (blood-dripping knife in hand), they simply said "Fine, just don't do it again". Reflecting on the twenty years since Barings, Leeson remarks: The weakness is in those risk management compliance and control areas. Always has been, still is and probably always will be. Comforting?

more...
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/european-banks-response-margin-calls-just-break-law-and-make-it


11/15/11 Banks 'to blame' for Europe debt woes

A former senior executive at Italy's largest bank says the European debt crisis is the result of a rotten culture that encourages excessive risk taking.

In his first interview since leaving the bank, the former head of risk management at the Dublin office of Italy's Unicredit bank, Jonathan Sugarman, told the ABC's Foreign Correspondent program that he was forced to resign after his chief executive consistently asked him to break the law.

In 2007, all the biggest banks in Europe had moved their headquarters to the Irish Financial Services Centre, lured by the lowest corporate tax rates in the English speaking world.

The New York Times dubbed Dublin the wild west of European finance.

Foreign banks found something else attractive about the place; it had developed a reputation for light-touch regulation.

Mr Sugarman was working for a German bank in Dublin when he was head hunted to run risk management at Unicredit's Dublin office.

The Italian bank had a $50 billion operation in Ireland.

Risk managers are required by law to keep assets and cash in reserve equivalent to 90 per cent of the bank's liabilities.

The rules are clear; the bank could, on occasion, drop to 89 per cent, but any lower than that and a report must be filed with the regulator.

But within months of his arrival, Mr Sugarman noticed that Unicredit Dublin was operating with cover of just 70 per cent, 20 times less than allowed.

For six weeks, his chief executive kept telling him not to worry.

But he was worried, so he resigned.

"We were breaking the law and it was my name on the reports day in day out," Mr Sugarman said.

"Under the eyes of the law, I'm the person responsible to make sure that we kept within our speed limit and we went way beyond our speed limit.

"And the law was very clear; I could face five years in prison for doing that and I just didn't want to go to prison."

Mr Sugarman says he was 100 per cent certain that Unicredit broke the law while he was working there.
more...
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-15/italy-unicredit-am/3666986/?site=newcastle

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Po_d Mainiac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #70
84. Wunner if Bloomfart has any comments? n/t
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 08:59 AM
Response to Original message
45. JPMorgan Joins Goldman Keeping Italy Debt Risk in Dark
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-16/jpmorgan-joins-goldman-keeping-investors-in-dark-on-italy-derivatives-risk.html

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), among the worlds biggest traders of credit derivatives, disclosed to shareholders that they have sold protection on more than $5 trillion of debt globally.

Just dont ask them how much of that was issued by Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, known as the GIIPS.

As concerns mount that those countries may not be creditworthy, investors are being kept in the dark about how much risk U.S. banks face from a default. Firms including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan dont provide a full picture of potential losses and gains in such a scenario, giving only net numbers or excluding some derivatives altogether.

If you dont have to, generally people dont see the advantage to doing it, said Richard Lindsey, a former director of market regulation at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who worked at Bear Stearns Cos. from 1999 through 2006. On the other hand, if there were a run on Goldman Sachs tomorrow because the rumor was that they had exposure to Greece, youd see them produce those numbers.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:05 AM
Response to Reply #45
48. What an Unfortunately Revealing Acronym
GIIPS....also offensive to the Roma.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
50. have to get going
It's paper route day...I get to do it all, tonight. At least it won't be snowing.

Maybe I'll make it back for more posts before the market closes...stay alive and try to have some fun, and I'll do the same.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #50
56. til next time!
:hi:
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:17 AM
Response to Original message
52. Celentes MF Global Gold Account Looted
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/euro-gold-outperforming-bunds-and-euro-assets-celente%E2%80%99s-mf-global-gold-account-%E2%80%98looted%E2%80%99

...

One of the more high profile victims of MF Globals fraud is economist and trends forecaster Gerard Celente.

Celente became the latest victim of the MF Global bankruptcy when funds, in the six figures, in his gold futures account were taken (or looted as Celente called it) by Chapter 11 trustees. Celente was hit with a margin call within days of the corporate shutdown despite his account being fully funded.

Celente told Russia Today (RT), I really got burned, I got a call last Monday, I have an account with Lind-Waldock, and I have been trading gold since 1978, and I have a very simple strategy. As you well know, Ive been very bullish on gold for many years So I was building up my account to take delivery on a contract, and I got a call on Monday, and they said I needed to have a margin call. And I said, what are you talking about, Ive got a ton of money in my account. They responded, oh no you dont, that moneys with a trustee now.

He said that MF Global have cleaned out and ruined a lot of people. So maybe the name MF, Im thinking the first word of MF is mother and we could put the other word in there if you use your imagination . . . because that is what they are doing to everybody.


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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
54. PBD... I move that "Bloomberg Economic News" be removed from the "Handy Links" section.
Any seconds for this motion?
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:43 AM
Response to Reply #54
58. i'll go along w/ what others say.
but i certainly get why.

:toast:
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #58
61. ...
:fistbump:
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:45 AM
Response to Original message
59. Global Demand for U.S. Assets Rises as Safety is Prized {warning: bloomberg link}
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-16/global-demand-for-u-s-assets-rises.html

Global demand for U.S. stocks, bonds and other financial assets rose in September as investors sought the safety of Treasury securities amid Europes sovereign-debt crisis.

Net buying of long-term equities, notes and bonds totaled $68.6 billion during the month, compared with net buying of $58 billion in August, the Treasury Department said in Washington today. Including short-term securities such as stock swaps, foreigners purchased a net $57.4 billion, compared with net buying of $89.3 billion the previous month.

Treasuries rose in September, extending their biggest quarterly advance since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008, on concern Europes sovereign-debt turmoil and a sluggish U.S. economy would undermine the global recovery. The rally repudiated Standard & Poors Aug. 5 downgrade of the U.S. AAA credit rating and drove yields to record lows.

That tells you something about the perceptions of the U.S. as a safe haven, considering that August was the culmination of the debt ceiling mess followed by a downgrade, Nancy Vanden Houten, senior government policy analyst at Stone & McCarthy Research Associates in Princeton, New Jersey, said before todays report.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #59
78. Suckers!
There is no hope, there will be no future. Not even here.
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Hotler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #59
93. I am Batman. Let me channel Hotler for a moment.
WOW! That is fucking insane. I like this part cause I'm in Colorado. (Despite problems we have here, problems elsewhere are worse, Mike Englund, chief economist at Action Economics LLC in Boulder, Colorado, said after the report. People seem willing to take on American risk.) That's the Peoples Republic of Boulder to you sir.
WOW! Other's are out there willing to buy in on our pile of shit. That is ballsy. Is it Obama, or is it Geitner or both that are making the phone calls around the world telling the money changers that we are good for it? Just think of the children and the grand children. Somebody at the top are making bold promises. WOW! It is just fucking insane.
To the Bat cave!

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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
69. TRUMP'S PANAMA OCEAN CLUB MISSES BOND INTEREST PAYMENT
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #69
75. I am sure the missing bond interest...
will show up in his comb over.:evilgrin:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
79. Vultures' Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores
by: Greg Palast THIS IS A BOOK EXCERPT--DON'T KNOW IF THEY'LL BE SERIALIZING, SO WATCH THIS SPACE!

http://www.truth-out.org/vultures-picnic-pursuit-petroleum-pigs-power-pirates-and-high-finance-carnivores/1320962213

Chapter One: Goldfinger

Rolling Hills, Outside New York City

Its all my fault, because Im such a cheap bastard. I was told to rent a white van, something nondescript that painters or a handyman might use and wouldnt be noticed parked at dawn on a road where only BMWs and Carrera 95s play.

But I was afraid BBC wouldnt pay for the van rental (I was right about that) and so here I was in the Red Menace, my fourteen-year-old busted-up Honda with the BRAKES idiot light on.

Anyway, I wont move. I can wait you out.

Well, maybe I can. Its freezing insane cold and the Dunkin Donuts coffee is cold, and I have to urinate out the last three cups I killed waiting on The Vulture to drive through his estates electronic gate to his work so I can somehow tail him unseen in my ridiculous red car. And now God is snowing on me. Thick, nasty, wet, heavy predawn snow, so everything turns white except my red beater. I might as well stick a flashing sign on the hood: I AM ON A STAKEOUT. I AM LOOKING FOR YOU.

We started at four A.M. It looks really glamorous on-screen when we broadcast these stories: the dramatic long-lens footage, then the jump and the confrontation. But after four horridly cold hours, there is nothing glamorous, just my bladder screaming at me. Badpenny calls from our Toyota, staked out in front of Vultures office building. Same issue she and Jacquie have to pee. So now they could blow the whole story because God forbid they should just squat behind a tree and make some yellow snow. The women insist on porcelain and have to leave their post....

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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
80. Super Committee stagnation.
See ya in a week.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
81. The Myth of the Wealthy Elderly By Dean Baker
http://www.nationofchange.org/myth-wealthy-elderly-1321376423

The austerity gang seeking cuts to Social Security and Medicare has been vigorously promoting the myth that the elderly are an especially affluent and privileged group. Their argument is that because of their relative affluence, cuts to the programs upon which they depend is a simple matter of fairness. There were two reports released last week that call this view into question.

The first was a report from the Census Bureau that used a new experimental poverty index. This index differed from the official measure in several ways; most importantly it includes the value of government non-cash benefits, like food stamps. It also adjusts for differences in costs by area and takes account of differences in health spending by age...While this new measures showed a slightly higher overall poverty rate the most striking difference between the new measure and the official measure was the rise in the poverty rate among the elderly. Using the official measure, the poverty rate for the elderly is somewhat lower than for the adult population as a whole, 9 percent for the elderly compared with 14 percent for the non-elderly adult population. However with the new measure, the poverty rate for the elderly jumps to 14 percent, compared with 13 percent for non-elderly adults. By this higher measure, we have not been nearly as successful in reducing poverty among the elderly as we had believed. While Social Security has done much to ensure retirees an income above the poverty line, the rising cost of health care expenses not covered by Medicare has been an important force operating in the opposite direction.

The other report suggests that this situation could get worse in the years ahead. The Pew Research Center released a study on wealth by age cohort. While many observers (including me) focused on the change in wealth over the last 25 years, what is perhaps more striking about this study are the levels of wealth it reported. The report showed that the median wealth for a household over age 65 is $170,500. This measure includes everything that they own, including equity in their home. With the median house selling for roughly $170,000, this study implies that the typical household over age 65 would essentially have enough money to pay off their mortgage. They would then have nothing else to live on except their Social Security. The situation looks even worse for the near elderly: the cohorts between the ages of 55 to 64. (Wealth typically peaks in these years, so these people are unlikely to have more wealth when they cross age 65.) The median wealth for this group was reported as $162,000. Using the Pew findings, the typical household in the 55 to 64 year old cohort would fall 5 percent short of the money needed to pay off the mortgage on the median home. Alternatively, if they were to use this wealth to buy an annuity at age 65, it would be sufficient to get them an annuity of roughly $10,000 a year or just over $800 a month. This would supplement Social Security income that comes to less than $1,200 a month for a typical worker. The monthly premium for Medicare Part B is $100, which would leave $1,100 from a monthly Social Security check for a typical retiree....Note that this calculation assumes that they have no equity in their home so they would either being paying rent or still paying off a mortgage out of this money. It is also worth remembering that the Medicare premium is projected to rise considerably more than the cost of living each year. This means that as retirees age, rising Medicare premiums will be reducing the buying power of their Social Security check each year. And this is the median; half of all seniors will have less income than this to support themselves.

This is the group that the Very Serious People in Washington want to target for their deficit reduction. While the Very Serious People debate whether people who earn $250,000 a year are actually rich when it comes to restoring the tax rates of the 1990s, they somehow think that seniors with incomes under $30,000 a year must sacrifice to balance the budget. There is a logic here, but it aint pretty.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
82. Regime Change in Europe: Do Greece and Italy Amount to a Bankers' Coup?
DUH, GEE...I DUNNO...WHAT DO YOU THINK, GUYS?

The voice of the people isn't something the markets seem to want to hear these days. First there was Greece, the cradle of democracy itself, where early this month, the merest mention of a referendum offering its citizens a say in a series of severe austerity measures was enough to send the markets into a tailspin. The ultimate result: the collapse of Prime Minister George Papandreou's ruling coalition, the rejection of any notion of bringing the proposal before the people, and the installation of a caretaker government under the leadership of Lucas Papademos, a former vice president of the European Central Bank and, until earlier this week, a visiting professor at Harvard. ...Then came Italy. As Athens threatened to go under, Rome found itself under pressure not so much for its level of debt which though high is generally considered within the limits of sustainability as much as for the erratic behavior of its flamboyant prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. On Monday, investors seemed to make the collective decision that he could no longer be trusted at the helm of the euro zone's third largest economy and sent Italy's cost of borrowing up towards crisis levels. By the end of the week, not only was Berlusconi finished, so was the very idea of holding a vote to replace him. The markets had spoken, and they didn't like the idea of going to the electorate. "The country needs reforms, not elections," said Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council on a visit to Rome Friday.

Indeed both Papandreou and Berlusconi had been respectively berated and belittled by Angela Merkel of Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy of France. It is almost as if Franco-German displeasure combined with the disapproval of the markets was enough to bring about regime-change. As in Athens, the plan in Rome is to replace the outgoing prime minister with somebody from outside the political class. Mario Monti, a neo-liberal economist and former EU commissioner who seems designed with the idea of calming the markets in mind, is expected to take over from Berlusconi after he resigns Saturday. For many in the two battle-scarred capitals, the fact that Papademos and Monti aren't directly accountable to the public isn't a problem. It's the reason they're being called in. Both countries have been tasked by the EU to attempt to restore confidence through deep cuts, sharp tax hikes and painful restructurings of the economy. The two technocrats have been tapped to lead because no politicians wants to face the electorate after doing what the markets have decreed needs to be done. "Democracy has very serious limitations." says Roberto D'Alimonte, a professor of political science at Rome's LUISS University. "It has the ability to kill itself, to self-destruct. {Bringing in a technocratic government} is not good or bad. It's necessary."

In Greece, the political class lost its credibility with the blowout over the referendum, says George Pagoulatos, a professor of European politics and economy at the Athens University of Economics and Business. Though the vast majority of the public is not eager to undergo the unpopular austerity measures, the probable consequence of not passing them abandonment by the EU and a chaotic exit from the euro is seen with even more distaste. Papademos, a respected economist untainted by the political slugfest, is thought to have the credibility and legitimacy to see the program through, allowing the two main political parties that have agreed to support him to renounce responsibility when the reforms start to pinch. "Theoretically, he has the capacity to apply policies that are politically costly," says Pagoulatos....In essence, what a technocratic head of government allows a country's elected officials to do is disperse the cost of passing unpopular legislation. By carefully hewing to the middle of their country's political spectrums, and pulling together packages of cuts that spreads the pain as evenly as possible among all sectors of society, Papademos and Monti, neither of whom would likely ever stand for election, have a chance to pass reforms that would otherwise be impossible. "The key in Greece and Italy and everywhere else is fairness," says D'Alimonte. "And that can only be done by a government that is not responsive to a single electoral base."

Of course, neither economist will be able to push anything through if there isn't a consensus that something must be done. And the lack of direct voter buy-in heightens the risk of populist dissent down the road. But, until now, the motivation has been provided by the threat of a market meltdown and a subsequent economic collapse. In Italy, Mario Monti was greeted with applause in the Senate Friday, a day in which the country's stock exchange gained 3.68% as stability seemed to be at hand. Yet, until the moment he's sworn in, Monti's ascension is far from a done deal, and it didn't take long after the markets had closed for the weekend for it to start to come under fire. Though Monti, a former advisor to Goldman Sachs, is heavily championed by the country's respected president, many in parliament have spent the week whispering that Berlusconi's ouster amounts to a "banker's coup." "Yesterday, in the chamber of deputies we were bitterly joking that we were going to get a Goldman Sachs government," says a parliamentarian from Berlusconi's government, who asked to remain anonymous citing political sensitivity. With less than 24 hours until Berlusconi's expected resignation, other names, closer to the outgoing prime minister, were beginning to be floated. If the markets object, the world will find out as soon as the opening bells ring on Monday.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2099350,00.html#ixzz1dte6STnA
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 02:09 PM
Response to Original message
83. Missoula, Montana, Votes Against Corporate Personhood: "Corporations Are Not Human Beings"
http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13144

You might not think that Missoula, Montana, (population around 65,000) would be the place that a revolt against corporate personhood might start, but you'd be wrong.

In fact, this past Tuesday, 75 percent of the voters in Missoula supported a referendum declaring that "corporations are not human beings." It's part of a national movement to encourage states to support a constitutional amendment to deny to corporations the rights given to individual Americans. The campaign was launched after the 2010 US Supreme Court decision granting corporations the rights of free speech guaranteed to individuals, including campaign spending.

According to the Missoulian, Cynthia Wolken - the councilwoman who initiated the referendum - was hopeful that other cities would follow suit:

"Basically, it affirmed what we were all seeing on the streets, which is the average Missoulian wanted to have their voice heard ... and they want their elected officials to fix the problem of corporate personhood," Wolken said. "So I hope this message is heard and we get started on fixing the problem."

As she sees it, corporations have been given too much power, and as stated in the Missoula resolution, their "profits and survival are often in direct conflict with the essential needs and rights of human beings."


Every week, over the past few months, Truthout has been excerpting Thom Hartmann's prescient book, "Unequal Protection," on how corporate personhood mistakenly became embedded in court rulings. In the book - available in a revised and expanded edition from Truthout - Hartmann writes:

For humans to take back control of our governments by undoing corporate personhood, we'll have to begin with the governments that are the closest and most accessible to us. It's almost impossible for you or me to go to Washington, D.C., and have a meeting with our senator or representative - most of us usually can't even get them on the phone unless we're a big contributor. But most of us can meet with our city council members or show up at their meetings. Lobbying within the local community is both easy and effective. Local politicians are the closest to - and generally the most responsive - to the people they represent.

When enough local communities have passed ordinances that directly challenge corporate personhood, state legislatures will begin to notice. As with the issues of slavery, women's suffrage, and Prohibition (among others), when local communities take actions that are followed by states, eventually the federal government will get on board.


Missoula, the home of the University of Montana, is showing the way.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
85. Start a Business?! How 'Bout Occupy Entrepreneurship?
http://www.truth-out.org/start-business-how-bout-occupy-entrepreneurship/1321041986

I recently came across a pithy, anti-Occupy Wall Street column in Entrepreneur Magazine that encouraged protesters to go home and create start-up ventures instead of standing up for social and economic justice. I say we express our dissent and commitment to community wealth-building by occupying entrepreneurship. The column was just under 400 words, but I can summarize it for you: Stop complaining and start a business. Though the conservative argument behind it was neither new nor particularly well-founded, it was aggressively inane and patently misguided all the same. The writer paid homage to the rhetoric of the Land of Opportunity, but gave no deference to the massive opportunity gap that in many ways accounts for the huge disparities of wealth, income and platforms of meaningful access between over-privileged and average Americans that have catalyzed the Occupy movement.

Its true that its easier to start a business than to help build a movement. I dare say, though, the latter is always more transformative. That said, the writer leaves out a few important things, all of which gravitate around one matter: facts. Telling folks to stop protesting and start a business is like encouraging people to run for public office, but discouraging them from registering to vote. The protest movement afoot in cities across our nation is laying the groundwork for democratizing among many other things entrepreneurial opportunity by starkly illustrating how grave social inequities hobble not just protesters in tents, but families on farms, couples in McMansions, and kids in college...Protest and dissent are inalienable rights. It makes us better citizens and stewards of our society and makes our nation better as a result when we do so non-violently, strategically, and often.

Starting a business because were jobless and broke? Not so much. What the writer doesn't understand is that we actually have too many would-be entrepreneurs who have started businesses all willy-nilly that should never have been started in the first place. They have maxed out their credit cards, borrowed from struggling friends or relatives, taken out a second mortgage on their now foreclosed home in search of the American Dream. Its a dream that the late comedian-sage George Carlin used to say could only be believed if you were asleep. We dont need more businesses or entrepreneurs, we need more community-centered businesses run by more informed, better prepared entrepreneurs.

And just as Tahrir Square influenced the protests on Wall Street and beyond, we need to do for entrepreneurship and commerce exactly what the Occupy movement is doing for civil society: Reminding ourselves that what is good for communities of struggle is good for America itself, and that obscene gaps between the ultra-rich and the rest of us are an affront to he common good. The same truths apply to community wealth-building through commerce... The businesses we need to help restore our most distressed communities are not more of the same be they small or big, high-tech or low-tech, corporate or family-owned; they are enterprises both for-profit and non-profit that bolster the commons. We need a much higher proportion of commonwealth enterprises to traditional businesses. For such commonwealth entrepreneurship benefits not just the investors, employees and consumers of such enterprises, but society at-large because they address the very social ills the excesses of Wall Street exacerbate. We need to Occupy Wall Street and elsewhere. We also need to occupy entrepreneurship the intersection of innovation and economic opportunity. Occupying entrepreneurship means redefining the words, assumptions, behaviors, and policies associated with starting and growing businesses. Occupying entrepreneurship demands we transform this intersection into a vibrant crossroads where democracy, inventiveness, collaboration, and inclusion culminate into the type of enterprises that every community needs and deserves.

The Occupy movement represents grassroots, democratic action towards shared prosperity. So, too, must 21st century entrepreneurship.
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wordpix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #85
97. "like encouraging people to run for public office" and then telling them it will cost
$1 million or more
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 11:47 PM
Response to Reply #97
98. Exactly, only worse
because too many elitists claim poverty is a "moral failing".
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
89. LEAP/E2020: The crisis enters a phase of widespread discounting of Western public debt
(not copyright)

As we come to the end of the second half of 2011, it is evident that 15,000 billion in ghost assets have gone up in smoke since last July, just as was anticipated by LEAP/E2020 (GEAB N56 ). And, according to our team, this process figures to continue at the same rate throughout the year to come. Indeed we estimate that, with the introduction of a 50% discount on Greek government debt, the global systemic crisis has entered a new phase: that of the generalized discount on Western public debt and its corollary, the fragmentation of the global financial markets. Our team believes that 2012 will bring an average discount of 30% of total Western public debt (1), plus an equivalent amount in loss of assets from the balance sheets of worldwide financial institutions. Specifically, LEAP/E2020 anticipates the loss of 30,000 billion ghost assets by early 2013 (2), with an acceleration in 2012 of the partitioning process of the global financial market (3) into three increasingly disconnected currency areas: Dollar, Euro, and Yuan. These two phenomena feed into each other. They will also be the cause of a sharp decline of 30% on the part of US currency in 2012 (4), as we announced last April (GEAB N54 ), which will occur amidst a sharp reduction in demand for the US dollar and the worsening of the US governmental debt crisis. The end of 2011 will therefore see, as anticipated, the trigger of the European debt crisis detonating a US bomb.

...

With a government of national unity finally in place in Greece (11), a modern state must literally be built from the ground up, with a proper land registry and an effective administration enabling the Greeks to become normal members of Euroland, not subjects of a feudal system where prominent families and the church share the wealth and power. Thirty years after its unconditional integration into the European Community, Greece must go through a five or ten year transitional phase similar to that of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe before their EU accession: painful, but inevitable.

Italy, meanwhile, has managed to rid itself of a leader altogether typical of the world before the crisis, characterized by his bling, his racketeering, his unscrupulous acquisition of money, his unfounded self-satisfaction, his hold on the media, his constant Euro-criticism and junk nationalism (12), not to mention his overflowing libido. The scenes of joy in the streets of Italy show not all is wrong with this global systemic crisis! As we indicated in the previous GEAB, we believe that 2012 will for Euroland be a year of transition on the road to building the world after the crisis, instead of just suffering the woes of the collapsing system.

At the same time the United Kingdom has basically been kicked out of the Euroland meetings (13). EU members outside the Eurozone have backed Euroland in refusing to support the British proposal concerning the right of the 27 to veto Euroland decisions. The United Kingdoms drift has been boosted by the efforts of British Eurosceptics (generally the foot soldiers of the City) (14) to try to sever as quickly as possible the strongest ties with continental Europe (15). Far from being proof of their policys success, it is rather an admission of complete failure (16). After twenty years of continuous efforts, they failed to disrupt the European integration process, which has been revived by the pressures of the crisis. So they are now dropping hawsers out of a fear well founded, by the way (17) of seeing the UK absorbed into Euroland by the end of this decade (18).

All told, it is a desperate march forward which, as pointed out by Will Hutton in a remarkably lucid article in the Guardian on 30/10/2011, can only lead the UK towards a break with a Scotland seeking to recover not only its independence (19) but also its European anchorage, and towards the socio-economic condition of an off-shore financial market without social protection (20) or an industrial base (21): in sum, a Dis-United Kingdom adrift (22).

And with its US ally in dire straits itself, that drift may drag on for years, to the great misfortune of a British people growing increasingly discontented with the City. Even veterans are beginning to join the Occupy the City movement (23); obviously, on this point, there is a convergence between the views of the British people and those of Euroland!

...

Speaking of public debt, it is time to turn to the United States. The coming weeks figure to remind the world that it is this country, not Greece, that is at the epicenter of the global systemic crisis. In one weeks time, on November 23, the Congressional Supercommittee in charge of reducing the US federal deficit will admit its failure to find 1,500 billion US dollars in savings over ten years. Each side is already crafting arguments that will blame the other side (25). As for Barack Obama, apart from his televised simpering with Nicolas Sarkozy, he now contemplates the situation passively, while noting that Congress has torn into pieces his grand jobs project introduced only 2 months ago (26). And it is not the utterly unrealistic announcement of a new Pacific Customs Union (excluding China) (27) on the eve of an APEC summit where Chinese and Americans are expected to confront one another harshly, which will enhance his stature as head of state, let alone his chances for reelection.

The predictable failure of the Supercommittee, which reflects the overall paralysis of the US federal political system, will have an immediate and drastic consequence: a new series of credit ratings deteriorations. The Chinese agency Dagon has opened fire, confirming that it would once again lower the rating upon the failure of the Supercommittee (28). S&P will probably lower one more time the US rating, and Moodys and Fitch will have then no other choice but to get on board, having given the US a reprieve until the end of the year under condition of effective results in terms of public deficit reduction. Incidentally, in order to dilute the flow of negative information in this regard, it is likely that there will be an attempt to reinforce the public debt crisis in Europe (29) by lowering Frances rating in order to weaken the European Financial Stability Fund (30).

All of this makes for an eventful season for the financial and monetary markets, casting severe blows on Western banking systems and, beyond that, on all US T-Bond holders. But beyond the failure of the Supercommittee to reduce the federal deficit, the entire US pyramid of debt will be thoroughly examined, in a context of global and of course US recession : falling tax revenues, unemployment increases, increases in the number of unemployed no longer receiving benefits (31), further drops in home values, etc.

...

We announced in the previous GEAB that we have entered a phase involving the decimation of Western banks. This phase is truly in swing, and customers of all financial operators (banks, insurance companies, investment funds, pension funds) (39) are now questioning the soundness of these institutions. As is evident from the Corzine affair, they should not assume that these institutions are a priori stronger than others just because they or their leaders are famous or enjoying a strong reputation (40). It is not knowledge of the rules of the financial game of yesterday, which formed those reputations, that now counts; but rather it is the understanding that the rules have changed that has become crucial.

/more... http://www.leap2020.eu/GEAB-N-59-is-available-Global-systemic-crisis-30000-billion-US-dollars-in-ghost-assets-will-disappear-by-early-2013_a8148.html
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bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 09:20 PM
Response to Reply #89
96. well, that all sounds pretty jaw - dropping to me -
of course, I only actually grasp about half of it - but still ... looks to me like we better Occupy and create community and wherever possible local control faster. TPTB that have already made it clear for anyone with eyes to see that we are not only no longer a "democracy" in any real sense but that they are utterly indifferent to what we call the rule of law. This bodes worse and more of the same - till what cannot endure, does not endure.
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
90. Wow! What the hell happened?
It's opposite day!
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hamerfan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #90
91. What goes up...
Edited on Wed Nov-16-11 04:09 PM by hamerfan
DOW...-191
MASDAQ... -47
S&P 500... -21

It happened quick, whatever it was.
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #90
94. Fitch: U.S. bank outlook could worsen over Europe
Edited on Wed Nov-16-11 04:32 PM by Roland99
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mahatmakanejeeves Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
92. Spanier resigns from US Steel Corp.
Edited on Wed Nov-16-11 04:33 PM by mahatmakanejeeves
Spanier resigns from US Steel Corp.

By Christina Gallagher
Collegian Staff Writer

....
Former Penn State President Graham Spanier resigned from the U.S. Steel Corp. Board of Directors Tuesday, giving up an annual six figure salary and a say in the happenings of the corporation that prides itself on producing 31.7 million net tons of steel each year.

U.S. Steel spokeswoman Courtney Boone confirmed that Spanier resigned Tuesday, but said she could not specify why. Boone could not confirm or deny whether Spanier resigned in light of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case or if he was asked to leave.

Boone did say U.S. Steel filed an 8-K at 1 p.m. Tuesday. An 8-K is a report that companies must file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to announce major events that shareholders should know about, according to the SECs website.

U.S. Steel paid Spanier $632,980 from 2008-2010 for being a director, according to Forbes.com.
....

Collegian Staff Writer Anna Orso contributed to this report


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